We all know what it’s like whether we’re first-time parents, have multiple children, or decided we were “one and done” – to want to provide the best, most secure, and comfortable life for our little ones. Of course, this can prove challenging at times as we can lose patience when life is chaotic, the house is a mess, and our to-do lists seem impossible to knock out. But, there are ways to be gentler on our children while simultaneously being gentler on ourselves. Let’s dig a little deeper into the concept.
Gentle Reminders For Gentler Parenting
Get Back To The Basics
When it comes to what we surround our children with, the more natural and basic it is, the gentler it will be on them. So, if you’re outfitting your nursery for your firstborn child, choose natural textiles like linen, cashmere, and organic cotton. Babies and children have soft, sensitive skin, so not only do products composed of natural fabrics feel better to them, they’re better and healthier for them. Babies and toddlers are prone to eczema and other sensitive, delicate skin issues, so making sure to clothe and swaddle them in the softest, most gentle fabrics is essential.
Nourish The Skin They’re In
The same natural rule of thumb applies when it comes to what we use on our children’s skin and hair. You want to make sure you’re choosing natural products with minimal ingredients that you know and trust. From their body wash, body lotions, shampoos (tear-free, please), and detangler for their hair, you want to go as clean as possible. Adding to the benefit that these types of products have on your child, they’re also safer for the environment as they filter through your home’s plumbing and towards your local wastewater treatment plant. So, make conscious, gentle choices not only for your children but for the planet as well.
Gentle Voices and Hearts
Sometimes, it can be hard not to get emotional when we’re reacting to things our children do, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. But, if we can remember that most of the time, acting out is a cry for attention or just an inability to communicate – we can take that time to calm ourselves down and address issues we have with our kids in a gentler, calming voice and from a loving heart.
The ability to empathize and communicate is an invaluable tool in everyone’s toolkit – a necessary one too. So, displaying this type of emotional intelligence starting out very early with our own children helps teach them how to do the same not only with you but with playmates and peers as they age. So, take time if you need to compose yourself before emotionally reacting to things they do that may be wrong in your eyes or poor behavior. It’s easier to correct bad behavior with positive reinforcement and compassion than anger and outbursts. Your relationship will be stronger for it as well.
Take Time For The One At Hand
Another important aspect of being able to be a gentler parent is to take time for yourself. While self-care and self-love are an essential part of everyone’s life to be as present as possible, you may struggle with finding this sacred time for yourself if you’re a parent. If you have a partner living in the same house with you, communicate your needs regarding what it takes to keep you grounded and how much time you need, and what times of day it benefits you most.
For some of you, you may be so overwhelmed, and you don’t even know where to begin to reclaim some time as your own. If this sounds like you, start small with taking relaxing walks on your own, this gives you time to not only process any emotions or stress you’re dealing with, but the physical exercise is beneficial to you as well. Maybe self-love sounds more like a relaxing bubble bath with no shout of the word “mama” in earshot. Whatever you need to do to recharge from a nap to a visit for a mani and Pedi, make sure you’re prioritizing yourself as well.
Parenthood is a journey, a beautiful and exhausting journey. But you’ve got this – and I promise it’s easier when you take a gentler approach not only with your children but with yourself as well.